DEFINITION--A disease of metabolism characterized by the body's inability to
produce enough insulin to process carbohydrates, fat and protein efficiently.
Non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus is most prevalent among obese adults.
BODY PARTS INVOLVED
- Islet cells of the pancreas that produce insulin.
- All body cells that need insulin to convert food into chemicals the body can use.
SEX OR AGE MOST AFFECTED--Both sexes of adults.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMS
- Excess thirst.
- Increased appetite.
- Frequent urination.
- Decreased resistance to infection, especially urinary-tract infections and yeast
infections of the skin, mouth or vagina.
- Insufficient insulin produced by the pancreas to sustain normal function of body cells.
- Interference with insulin utilization in body cells for unknown reasons.
RISK INCREASES WITH
- Obesity in adults.
- Use of certain drugs, including oral contraceptives, thiazide diuretics, cortisone or
- Family history of diabetes mellitus.
HOW TO PREVENT
- Control your weight to avoid becoming obese.
- Maintaining a regular exercise program may help prevent or delay NIDDM.
What To Expect
- Your own observation of symptoms.
- Medical history and exam by a doctor.
- Laboratory urine and blood studies to meas-ure glucose, cholesterol and insulin levels.
APPROPRIATE HEALTH CARE
- Self-care after diagnosis.
- Doctor's treatment.
- Surgery for treatment of some complications, such as gangrene or heart disease.
- Cardiovascular disease, especially atherosclerosis, stroke and coronary-artery disease.
- Vision impairment.
- Peripheral vascular disease, with gangrene in legs and feet and sexual impotence in men
- Hypoglycemia, if oral hypoglycemic medication is used (rare).
PROBABLE OUTCOME--This form of diabetes can often be controlled with weight
loss. Good control decreases the chance of complications. In some cases, it progresses to
insulin-dependent diabetes, a more serious form.
How To Treat
- Learn to test your urine for glucose (sugar).
- Learn all you can about controlling diabetes and recognizing signs and symptoms of
- Wear a Medic-Alert pendant or bracelet (See Glossary).
- Lose weight to a normal level and maintain your ideal weight.
- Obtain prompt medical treatment for any infection or injury.
- See Resources for Additional Information.
MEDICATION--Your doctor may prescribe oral medicines to reduce blood sugar
(hypoglycemics). These are not always necessary. They can often be discontinued when body
weight becomes normal.
ACTIVITY--No restrictions. Regular daily exercise is an important part of
controlling diabetes. Consult your doctor.
DIET--A special diet will be necessary to: reduce weight; limit refined
carbohydrates; balance unrefined carbohydrates, protein and fat; and increase plant fiber.
Your doctor will provide instructions.
Call Your Doctor If
- You have symptoms of diabetes mellitus.
- The following occurs during treatment: Inability to think clearly; weakness; sweating;
paleness; rapid heartbeat; seizures; coma (may indicate hypoglycemia). Numbness, tingling
or pain in the feet or hands. Infection that does not improve in 3 days. Chest pain.
Worsening of original symptoms, despite adherence to treatment.